Someone once said that the toughest job in the entire world is to do nothing, because you
can't stop and take a break.  I believe that anything you are doing is the toughest job in the
world if you can't stop and take a break, grieving included.

So, how do you take a break from grieving when your grief surrounds you?  When grief has
become an entity of its own and shadows your every waking moment, how do you get out of
the grieving pool and come up for a breath of fresh air?  How can you possibly take a break
from a broken heart? To answer that, we need to start at the beginning to get a true
perspective of this whole grieving thing.

First, there was a period of time before your loved one passed away when you were not
grieving. Right?  So, there was a time before grief. Some event or circumstance caused your
loved one to depart. Then grief came. Those two periods of time are easy to picture and you
can probably state the exact dates and time.

Or, maybe your loved one became ill long before they passed away and your grief started
when they first got sick or began to deteriorate either physically or mentally. You will still have
a pretty good picture of the "time" that your grief began. In other words, you surely recognize
a period of non-grief as well as the period of just-began grief.

Now, grief has arrived, but this extremely difficult period of grief is only here for a period of
time as well. This period of time is different for each of us, depending on our own individual
circumstances and our own internal makeup. But it is ONLY a period of time, just like the
before-grief time.

After this period of time, there will come another period of lesser-grief. No, grief doesn't ever
completely end because you will always love and miss the one who is gone, but the intensity
of your grief WILL change. The biggest difference is that you may not be able to distinguish
when the intense-grief period ends and the regular-grief period starts, nor when the regular-
grief period ends and the get-on-with-my-life-grief begins. Those periods will be seen much
more clearly with hindsight.  But for now, you must concentrate on getting through just one
period at a time.

During the intense-just-began-grief, there are no breaks. It's a tough period of time, but one
that God will see you through if you let Him. The Psalmist said, "Yeah, through I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me."  He never said God would walk us
AROUND that valley. He never said as a Christian, we wouldn't have to take that trip at all.
But he said God will walk WITH us, meaning we don't have to walk through our grief alone!  
Trust in His strength to get you through this most difficult period of time in your grief.

Breaks can begin in the next period. It's entirely up to you. Breaks can come in many different
forms, and many different amounts of time. Once you arrive at the regular-grief period, you
can take short breaks just by taking a moment and doing something totally different. If you
haven't been to the public library in forever, GO. If you've never been to a museum, GO. If
you've never seen the sunrise at the lake before, get up early and GO. Or get up early and
walk out in the backyard at dawn and listen to the birds singing early in the morning as the
sun rises. But do something different. You will be surprised, that even if for just a moment,
even if for only just a few heartbeats, it will give you a break in your grief.

If you used to get up with your loved one every morning and have coffee while watching the
sunrise, don't do that one. Take a trip to the library, or something you and your loved one did
not do together. But even if you only get a 2-heartbeat or a  2-minute break in your grief, it's a
break. And one you need and deserve.

As time marches on, there will come a time when you will feel strong enough to step outside
of your grief, and breaks can become much longer. To step outside of your grief involves
stepping outside of yourself, but you can do this. By stepping outside of yourself, I mean
looking outside of yourself to others who may be hurting or need your help. Maybe you can
volunteer one day a week to tutor a child after school, or volunteer for a couple of hours at
some other organization that surely could use the help. Senior citizen centers, day care,
hospitals, nursing homes, churches, city and county government offices, community colleges,
MHMR centers, and many more other groups are always looking for volunteers, even if only
for short periods of time. Maybe you just have an elderly neighbor who could use a little help
getting to the grocery store. Offer to help.  You can do this … for them … and for yourself.

The more time you spend outside your "self" and outside of your grief, the sooner the last
period of time will arrive:  the I-can-get-on-with-my-life-grief. There is a reason you are still
here and God wants to show you His purpose for whatever time is allotted to you to walk this
planet. Rediscover your talents and you will rediscover yourself. Your joy will return and you
can get on with your life, according to His purpose. Then, you will find Peace.

Yes, grief will always play a part in your life, but it will eventually become bitter-sweet. There
will always be a sorrow from loss, but there will also be a peace in knowing and believing you
will be reunited again one day with those lost loved ones.

Remember, life is only made up of periods of time. There will come a time when you are
reunited with your loved ones again, for all eternity, for the remainder of ALL time. Looking at
time from that perspective ~ eternity ~ how big is a period?  

Take things one period at a time. Trust in the Lord to be your strength and to guide your days
and nights. He will never leave you, for He has said, "I, your God, am with you always". You
can do this. He can help.
Living ... One Period at a Time
© Ferna Lary Mills


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